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Rain in Tanzania

It’s May 2011, and Dar es Salaam is wet. Almost every day so far, it’s been raining heavily and it’s lovely to sit in and watch the tropical storms. This is good to see – especially in a country where drought is increasingly common.

Rainwater harvesting

Urban residents in the know have their rainwater harvesting in operation: water falls free from the skies and they catch it on large tin roofs, directing it into a gutter and down into a tank. If it rains enough, this can keep them going for months as it enables them to irrigate small vegetable patches, and access water for household use, including boiling it for drinking water. Concern uses this method to provide water to schools in the northwest of Tanzania, and it’s really effective. 

Rural Tanzania

But it’s the residents of rural Tanzania who will be most thankful for the rain. Some areas are so dry that rain falls in light showers or not at all. Growing anything in this climate is a challenge, and the levels of hunger are high in many regions, especially in the southern region where the hunger period lasts for around four months every year. During this time, families survive on one basic meal a day. 

Reducing suffering

There are many ways of reducing suffering in the event of poor rain. These are just some of the things we’re doing in Tanzania in a bid to reduce hunger and the vulnerability of the climate:

  • Teaching improved farming skills to increase chance of harvest
  • Providing irrigation
  • Using drought-resistant crops
  • Diversifying crops and adding a cash crop
  • Starting a vegetable garden
  • Providing proper storage to prevent loss of harvest
  • Food budgeting
  • Creating community credit schemes to help people start up small businesses
  • Producing quality seeds
  • Planting trees

Hope for the future

As long as Tanzania’s farming continues to rely on rain, then problems will persist in the areas where rain is already sporadic. But we’re hopeful that a transformation will take place over the next couple of decades so that reliance on rain will diminish. Tanzania can prosper from irrigated land, vibrant bustling markets, and services that support and encourage farmers. This is the Tanzania we’re working towards.